Cook Islands Culture

Cook Islands culture is heavily influenced by its Polynesian heritage and European influences.  Here you’ll fin the people of the Cook Islands have a unique and beautiful culture that is warm and welcoming.


Do you hear that rhythm?  Listen, and you’ll hear the call of the drums.  It is the loudest in the Cook Islands- a rhythmic pounding of a tattoo on hollowed out tree trunks.  This musical talent and tradition is taught from childhood and is part of life.  From chats and songs of traditional dances to the choirs at church on Sunday or the sound of music coming from nightclubs, you’ll find music is the rhythm to life in the Cook Islands.  


The Cook Islands are home to some of the finest artists and carvers of the Pacific.  Here you’ll find gorgeous decorative wood carvings, amazing tattoo designs, and tapa cloth designs all having a distinctive Cook Islands touch.  An interesting factoid about the Cooks Islands and tattoos:  the missionaries considered tattooing to be taboo in the mid-1800s, fortunately, it survived and is re-emerging in fine tradition.  Designs are based on heritage and ancient lore, worn with pride and symbolize one’s traditional inheritance.


 Wood carving is a tradition that is highly revered.  The Tangaroa is the symbol of the Cook Islands and a favorite subject to create from.  Weaving, especially baskets, is a traditional part of life.  Painting is prevalent and popular as well.  The Cook Islands has always been an inspiration for artists.  Also of value are the hand-printed designs of pares and mu-mus derived from carved wood boards depicting traditional patterns, along with flora and fauna and sea life that are so typical of the islands.  Usually using natural dyes, this unique form of printing is a boutique craft gaining global admiration.


A must-do on any Cook Islands bucket list is the Saturday Night Pub Crawl on Rarotonga!  If you’re looking for a way to meet locals while enjoying the nightlife and dancing, this is the pub crawl for you.  Pick a local pub crawl bus and end a the famous Rehab Nightclub.  


Another great bucket list item is the Polynesian Style Night Village.  Here you’ll discover the best cultural village experience in the Cook Islands.  You’ll be blown away by Rarotonga’s finest dancers and musicians performing by flaming torchlight on floating and fixed stages.  Learn more about this great cultural experience by clicking here.

Are you ready for your cultural Cook Islands getaway?  Talk to a Cook Islands travel specialist today and discover the magic of tailor-made travel, 312-951-8517.  Need to keep dreaming?  Check out some of our other unique and exciting destinations here.